MSSU receives grant to research student food insecurity

JOPLIN – Missouri Southern State University receives a grant to learn more about food insecurity in students.

The Fahs-Beck Foundation grant gives the University $25,000 to fund research into food insecurity in Missouri college students.

It will look at students’ access to and knowledge of the “SNAP” program, “Do you know what SNAP is? Do you know how to access SNAP? And so really getting a better understanding of SNAP knowledge, SNAP awareness, and food insecurity in this population” says, Andrea Cullers, the director of the MSSU Lion Co-op who will oversee the research.

In the meantime, the Lion Co-op is addressing food insecurity by giving to students in need.

To donate to the Lion Co-Op, email http://lioncoop@mssu.edu. High-demand items include:
• Microwaveable entrees, such as macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, and soups
• Snack foods, such as granola bars, peanut butter, and crackers
• Other food items, such as instant mashed potatoes or jam

• Personal hygiene items, such as toilet paper, deodorant, and body soap

Donations can also be made through the MSSU Foundation. Call 417-625-3104 for details.



“COVID-somnia”: What it is, and how you could get more sleep if it’s impacting you

JOPLIN, Mo. – Sleep is something that everyone needs. But it’s something a lot of us are doing less during the pandemic.

“As a physician and as a human in this pandemic, it has impacted my sleep,” says Charles Graves, a psychiatrist at Access Family Care.

“Generally speaking, 15 to 30 percent of the population will have trouble sleeping,” explains Steve Graves, a councilor with the Ozark Center.

But according to the National Institutes of Health, that number has increased to 40 percent during the pandemic. The term has been dubbed “COVID-somnia” because the stresses and changes caused by the pandemic can cause many to have insomnia.

“Stress and sleep do not mix. Most of our stressors in our world are short term. Unfortunately, the pandemic has been a long term stress,” says Graves.

Graves explains that insomnia can impact both physical and mental function, with it impacting concentration, problem solving and rational thinking.

“Obviously that impacts our school age children in school, but also our adults who have to look after those children,” says Graves.

“The misery factor goes up any time you can’t sleep,” says Charles Doyle, a psychologist at College Skyline in Joplin.

Doyle explains the misery of insomnia can be especially problematic for people who already battle mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

“The worry about going to sleep actually increases,” says Doyle. “It becomes a serious thing for them to deal with. And it decreases their daily function, increases their symptoms overall.”

So what can you do to get more and better sleep? Here are some tips that both Doyle and Graves recommend:

  • Create a sleeping schedule and preparation routine.
  • Take a break from social media and the news.
  • Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Get sunlight and do light exercise early in the day to reset your sense of time and circadian rhythm. Also close the blinds when the evening rolls around.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed.
  • Be kind to your mind and don’t worry about the things that you cannot change in the moment.

“Also, people with anxiety and depression should already be getting therapy… helping them work through the things that they’re worrying about. That will keep it from invading your mind when you’re trying to go to sleep,” says Doyle. “And even when they’re receiving treatment, I often times encourage them to schedule a ‘worry time.’ Schedule a time to think about those things that are distressing so that they’re out of the way when it comes time to rest.”

If none of that helps, then it may be time to seek out professional help.

“If it goes for a week or more when people are having difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep, it’s appropriate to speak to your physician in that period of time,” says Graves.

“When you’re sleep is off, it’s often a red flag that says something else is off. That it needs to be attended to as well,” explains Doyle.

If you do have a mental illness and have experienced sleeplessness for so long that it sends you into a crisis, the Ozark Center has a 24 hour crisis intervention hotline. That number is 417-347-7720.


Census Bureau releases new income and poverty data

JOPLIN, Mo. – An increase in the nation’s poverty level over the past 10 years is felt locally by organizations that serve folks in need. We spoke with two of those organizations on what they’re seeing in the region.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released its income and poverty report, which showed a 1% increase in poverty nationally. New local numbers weren’t immediately available, but as of 2019, the City of Joplin had a nearly 19% poverty rate, while the national average, is at 10%, and the state average is at 12%. The number of people living in poverty is placing an increased demand on local service providers as well. Crosslines Executive Director Rodney Rambo says “The stimulus relieved the immediate crisis which is what we do, but we’re starting to see things trend back upward.”

For Crosslines, Executive Director Rodney Rambo says they’re grateful for the assistance they get from the community to help meet those increased needs. “We were started through the generosity of the community, through the local churches and we continue to depend on that today, so, fortunately we live in a place where our community tends to respond to need very well.”

Rambo says he’s concerned the poverty percentage in Joplin, could go up. “We do expect that number to continue to increase, Joplin, we just tend to be, have a higher poverty level than the surrounding region.

Over at the Economic Security Corporation, they’ve seen a 26% increase in customers needing assistance since 2019. Community Development Director Tammy Walker says “So, it definitely could go up, I think if it does, more customers will be seeking assistance, my hope is some of the programming we do will help people get out of poverty or get into a better situation.”

Community Development Director Tammy Walker says part of that increase is due to the pandemic, but, another side-effect of the pandemic, has been an increase in funding to organizations like economic security to provide services. “We were able to look at the needs in the community and create programs that we haven’t done before, for example, we were offering water bill assistance, and that’s taken off.”

If you would like to help out with Crosslines, click here.
If you’re in need of assistance, click here for the Economic Security Corporation.


News to Know (9/14/21)

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin police and the Joplin SWAT team respond to an armed person at the Joplin-Webb City industrial park. JPD received a call of an armed person at a former Eagle-Picher facility at 3220 Industrial Drive. Officials say when they arrived, they found a man with a gun pointed to his head. The SWAT team and a crisis team were called in to help deescalate the situation. Authorities say after four hours the standoff ended with the man shooting himself. He was taken to a local hospital with life threatening injuries. Authorities have not released his name. Joplin Police, SWAT, respond to report of armed man in the Joplin-Webb City Industrial Park

MAYES COUNTY, Okla. – Two men are dead following a two-vehicle crash in Mayes County, Oklahoma. A pickup and car collided on Highway 82 south of Locust Grove. Two people in the car died at the scene. They were the driver, 27-year-old Christopher Crosley of Mounds, Oklahoma, and a passenger, 29-year-old Caleb Bagley of Tulsa. The man and woman in the truck were both hospitalized in stable condition. Two dead in Mayes County, OK crash

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas now has a second location in Pittsburg. The Rita J Bicknell Family Health Center opened Monday. Three doctors from the Community Health Center will work out of the new location. Officials say the new facility was recently renovated to provide additional access and expanded services focusing on women’s health. Rita J. Bicknell Family Health Center opens in Pittsburg

HOUSTON, Tex. – The latest named storm that goes by Nicholas made landfall early Tuesday morning, and did so as a Category 1 hurricane. Nearly all of the state’s coastline is under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said there are already rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast. Nicholas now a tropical storm after making landfall in Texas as a Category 1 hurricane packing 75 mph winds

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: Amazon joins a growing list of retailers offering education benefits to its employees. The online retailer says it will cover 100% of the cost of tuition. Would you be willing to work full/part time and attend college if your company paid for tuition? Join our KOAM InstaPoll @ koamnewsnow.com/vote.



Larger than average utility rate increase in Carthage explained


CARTHAGE, Mo. – This summer, the Carthage Water & Electric Plant raised their rates 3.7% which is a bit higher than the typical annual rate increase that usually falls between one and three percent.

Chuck Bryant, general manager of the Carthage Water and Electric Plant says they had to adjust after some big changes at the Carthage Butterball facility.

“From what I understand, they are planning to and have made adjustments in their production schedule, and are moving a lot of their major utility usage production to a location in Arkansas. Carthage will be a manufacturing and packaging facility for them, so it’s just a little bit different usage of their utilities which for us results in about a 2.3 million dollar reduction in revenue,” said Bryant.

The 2021 rate increase boils down to a six dollar increase on the average residential utility bill.

William Fisher is a retired Carthage resident on a fixed income, and while he’s not thrilled with the increase in the cost of living, he says he’s lived in Carthage a long time and that the Carthage Water & Electric Plant runs an honest business.

“(Do I) like it? No. But understanding it. Yes. The wife and I knew it was going to happen, and the power plant’s always been very good to most any Carthage resident, and I’m sure that we’d all say that we miss the dollars from our pocketbooks, but most of us have just accepted it as is,” said Fisher.

Butterball provided a statement to KOAM saying, “While we can’t validate the impact our previously announced operational changes could have on the Carthage Water & Electric Plant, and while those changes have yet to take place, we continue to reinvest in the Carthage facility to improve efficiency and manufacturing processes. Butterball is proud of our long history in Carthage and will continue to be an integral part of the local economy.”



Volunteers team up to tackle Joplin/Webb City parks cleanup

JOPLIN, Mo. – On Sunday, September 12, 43 volunteers teamed up to pick up trash at five local parks: Landreth, Cunningham, Parr Hill, Ewert and Hatton.

Meeting at Landreth Park to sign in before dispersing, volunteers geared up with gloves, reused bags and mesh bags for recyclables provided by Wildcat Glades, then set out to remove litter from their assigned park. The event even offered drinks and the makings for s’mores to attendees.

The reason for the cleanup was simple: to give back to the community in an easy, yet effective way. Event organizer Daniel Rangel aims to encourage community members to join the effort to beautify the area’s parks, while creating dialogue.

“Our mission is to start a conversation about our civil responsibilities to our community. We can prevent our parks from being ridden with trash, it just takes dedicated members of our towns to step up and help out,” said Rangel.

Rangel hopes to organize a parks cleanup event bimonthly, but can’t do it without the help of volunteers and local businesses.

“We appreciate all the support from members of our community and businesses. We hope to use it as momentum to continue something like this,” he said.

Webb City Florist & Greenhouse, Allied Refrigeration & Restaurant Supply, El Loco Taco, JoMo Nutritrion, Just A Taste, Graham Packaging and Shango Missouri were sponsors of the parks cleanup.

For more information about how to get involved, email Rangel at daniel@socialcolormarketing.com.


Missouri lawmaker visits work site to see progress on new water supply infrastructure act

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Missouri lawmaker is focusing on the importance of a new and improved water supply.

State Senator Bill White visited a Missouri American Water Company job site today.

He says the new “Water and Sewer Infrastructure Replacement Act” will help smooth the way for updates like this, as well as unexpected issues crews find while on the construction site.

The act will speed up the approval process, meaning companies can save money.

“It allows them to get financing at a much more reasonable rate because we’re able to immediately start to recoup the cost and therefore the cost of the loan is cheaper,” said Missouri Senator Bill White, (R)

White inspected the worksite at 34th and Joplin Avenue, replacing two inch pipe dating back to the 1950’s with new eight inch pipe.


Joplin businessman indicted for false tax returns

JOPLIN, Mo. — A federal grand jury indicts a Joplin businessman over allegations of false tax returns.

64 year old Kenneth Madl lives in Joplin and owns Madl Construction based in Pittsburg.

Court documents claim he underreported how much that company made from 2015 to 2019, a difference of more than a million dollars.

The indictment charges Madl with five counts of filing a false statement in a tax return.


Bright Futures Neosho nonprofit gets financial help from Corley Trust

NEOSHO, Mo. — A non-profit group in Newton County is getting a financial boost to help better the lives of students in the community.

Five thousand dollars is now in the hands of officials at Bright Futures Neosho.

The money comes from the WR Corley Memorial Trust Fund through Southwest Missouri Bank, and will now help the organization supply weekend food bags to students.

“It’ll be somewhere between 55,000 and 60,000 dollars this year to purchase food just for our food bags, so the 5,000 dollars takes a pretty good chunk out of that total cost for that program this year,” said Deedee Dowell, Bright Futures Neosho Coordinator

Bright Futures Neosho was one of 32 non-profits to receive grant money from the Corley Trust.


Crowder College kicks off their "Wellness Week" to help improve students' lives

PITTSBURG, Kans. — One four state college is spending the week helping its students, faculty and staff better themselves.

This week is “Wellness Week” on campus.

Between classes, individuals can do a variety of things to learn more about personal wellness.

Crowder College is offering an opportunity for people to stop by in the college’s courtyard and learn more about the seven dimensions of wellness.

Those dimensions include spiritual, social, physical, occupational, emotional, environmental and mental and intellectual.

“We try to have a variety of just different events and people visiting campus that can kind of give our students an overview of all the different categories that go into their well-being,” said Christy Manning – Wellness Week Coordinator.

While the college has inside resources like the counseling center helping out with Wellness Week, they also have outside help like George Washington Carver Monument park staff, and massage therapists, something first year student Max Duncan says is helpful.

“Having a Wellness Week like this, especially for Freshman like me, it gives them time, even it’s just about two or one hour like me that you can kind of just de-stress,” said Max Duncan – Crowder College Freshman.

“We try to get our community involved because there’s obviously spiritual dimensions, or emotional wellness dimensions include everything. And, so, we want to really connect students to their communities,” said Manning.

And connecting them makes it all worth it.

“I actually see it personally as a good way to de-stress and kind of heal your mental and even emotional health,” said Duncan.

Wellness week will conclude on Thursday.

Although “Wellness Week” is through the college, manning adds anyone in the community is welcome to stop by.